Anti-Black Erasures and International Student Uncertainty

Nay Paing and Saumya Joshi

After the Pan-Asian Student Alliance (PASA) was called out for being anti-black by four black students in the context of Peter Liang’s indictment, we began interrogating our own politics and figuring out ways in which we can move towards developing an anti-racist organization. In doing this work, we also branched out to the international student community to address the Forum of International Students at Hampshire’s (FISH) own anti-blackness. Through these discussions, we began articulating systemic issues regarding a lack of resources and institutional support for international students while trying to actively center Blackness. These issues include the insufficient funding for the Cultural Center and SOURCE (Students of Underrepresented Cultures and Ethnicities); the lack of institutional emotional and mental support for international students, particularly black and brown bodies; and the gross negligence regarding the overworking of O.C. Gorman, the interim Cultural Center director for Multicultural and International Student Services and Community Advocacy. Before being the interim director, O.C., already overstretched, held the only position in International Student Advising. This has led to her, another exploited women of color on campus, being on medical leave for one and a half months and counting. This has been a trying time for the Cultural Center, a time when no permanent staff is available to provide resources and advising to SOURCE. Moreover, O.C.’s absence has left ALL international students without proper visa advising for F-1 (our visa status), OPT (post-Hampshire work authorization), CPT (work authorization during Hampshire), among other acronyms of the nightmarish DHS immigration system.  Although short-term measures have been arranged, we view these developments as systemic and as a community are working to address them.

 

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